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Thread: More on Marx: Critical Theory

  1. #1
    Mr RonPrice Ron Price's Avatar
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    More on Marx: Critical Theory

    In this post I continue the juxtaposition of the Baha'i Faith and Marxism which has interested me for some time.
    ________________
    THE CRITIQUE GOES ON

    A 'critical theory' of society emerged in June 1844 with the Economical and Philosophical Manuscripts of Karl Marx. Marx had been working on his Manuscripts in the months before and after the Bab's declaration to Mulla Husayn in May 1844. Critical theory lay dormant after 1848 until 1917. The term 'critical theory' was not coined, though, until 1930 by Max Horkheimer. The first systematic philosophy of history or social theory, the precursor to Marx's critical theory, was Hegel's. Put another way, "the methodological basis of the critical theory of society" is to be found in "the dialectical logic of George F. Hegel."1 Hegel's first major works in philosophy were composed after Shaykh Ahmad had arrived in Iran to continue his work as a precursor of the Bab. Hegel died in 1831, five years after Shaykh Ahmad's passing.

    The entire history of critical theory, one of modern sociology's major theoretical orientations, has, for me, an interesting comparison and contrast, an interesting juxtaposition, with the history of the Babi and Baha'i religions and their precursors -Ron Price with thanks to 1R. George Kirkpatrick, George N. Katsiaficas, Mary Lou Emery, "Critical Theory and the Limits of Sociological Positivism," Transforming Sociology Series, Red Feather Institute, 1978, pp.1-21.

    You1 got a new lease on life in the late teens,

    say 1917 to 1921, when George Lukacs' work

    "History and Class Consciousness," was published

    and promulgated, when the Frankfurt School was

    born with its centre at Columbia by 1934.

    We, too, were articulating our architectural ediface,

    our institutional framework in these years up to the mid-'30s,

    not on a Marxian foundation as it was with you,

    with your critique, but on an ediface of some 75 years

    of infallible, authoritative, guidance. Yes, our world

    collapsed in the trenches. Liberalism had proved useless

    and socialism's death knell would be wrung.2 When all hope

    seemed lost in that decade of disillusionment,3 critical theory

    was born anew. And we had found our institutional form, then.

    In time, you had your Habermas4 and we had our House of Justice

    to provide the context for the search, the adequacy of perspective,

    the blending and harmonizing of salutary truths, the generation

    of spiritual nerves and sinews, tapping as they do the roots

    of motivation and the meaning of this Revelation.

    1 Critical Theory

    2 many sociologists have pointed out the end of socialism and liberalism, some say by the end of WWI, others by the end of WW2 and still others at various stages in the post-WWII period. Of course, there are many who still find hope in these 'isms. Perhaps what I say here is said in the booklet Baha'u'llah(p.1) a little differently: "a succession of ideological upheavals.....have exhausted themselves."

    3 1930s

    4 leading writer in 'critical theory.'

    Ron Price
    18 October 2001
    Ron Price is a Canadian who has been living in Australia for 42 years(in 2013). He is married to a Tasmanian and has been for 37 years after 8 years in a first marriage. At the age of 69 he now spends most of his time as an author and writer, poet and publisher. editor and researcher, online blogger, essayist, journalist and engaging in independent scholarship. He has been associated with the Baha'i Faith for 60 years and a member for 53 years.cool:

  2. #2
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Price View Post
    In this post I continue the juxtaposition of the Baha'i Faith and Marxism which has interested me for some time.
    ________________
    THE CRITIQUE GOES ON

    A 'critical theory' of society emerged in June 1844 with the Economical and Philosophical Manuscripts of Karl Marx. Marx had been working on his Manuscripts in the months before and after the Bab's declaration to Mulla Husayn in May 1844. Critical theory lay dormant after 1848 until 1917. The term 'critical theory' was not coined, though, until 1930 by Max Horkheimer. The first systematic philosophy of history or social theory, the precursor to Marx's critical theory, was Hegel's. Put another way, "the methodological basis of the critical theory of society" is to be found in "the dialectical logic of George F. Hegel."1 Hegel's first major works in philosophy were composed after Shaykh Ahmad had arrived in Iran to continue his work as a precursor of the Bab. Hegel died in 1831, five years after Shaykh Ahmad's passing.

    The entire history of critical theory, one of modern sociology's major theoretical orientations, has, for me, an interesting comparison and contrast, an interesting juxtaposition, with the history of the Babi and Baha'i religions and their precursors -Ron Price with thanks to 1R. George Kirkpatrick, George N. Katsiaficas, Mary Lou Emery, "Critical Theory and the Limits of Sociological Positivism," Transforming Sociology Series, Red Feather Institute, 1978, pp.1-21.

    You1 got a new lease on life in the late teens,

    say 1917 to 1921, when George Lukacs' work

    "History and Class Consciousness," was published

    and promulgated, when the Frankfurt School was

    born with its centre at Columbia by 1934.

    We, too, were articulating our architectural ediface,

    our institutional framework in these years up to the mid-'30s,

    not on a Marxian foundation as it was with you,

    with your critique, but on an ediface of some 75 years

    of infallible, authoritative, guidance. Yes, our world

    collapsed in the trenches. Liberalism had proved useless

    and socialism's death knell would be wrung.2 When all hope

    seemed lost in that decade of disillusionment,3 critical theory

    was born anew. And we had found our institutional form, then.

    In time, you had your Habermas4 and we had our House of Justice

    to provide the context for the search, the adequacy of perspective,

    the blending and harmonizing of salutary truths, the generation

    of spiritual nerves and sinews, tapping as they do the roots

    of motivation and the meaning of this Revelation.

    1 Critical Theory

    2 many sociologists have pointed out the end of socialism and liberalism, some say by the end of WWI, others by the end of WW2 and still others at various stages in the post-WWII period. Of course, there are many who still find hope in these 'isms. Perhaps what I say here is said in the booklet Baha'u'llah(p.1) a little differently: "a succession of ideological upheavals.....have exhausted themselves."

    3 1930s

    4 leading writer in 'critical theory.'

    Ron Price
    18 October 2001
    I am really happy to come across you, for I am really looking for a man who ca make such striking contrastive comparisons between two different faiths, in fact I call marxism also a faith.

    My introduction to Baha'i Faith was when I visited a temple, the Lotus temple in New Delhi in India a decade ago. I did not know about Baha'i faith then save a little bookish knowledge about it. When I entered the lotus temple tere the very vibrations of the surroundings impressed me.

    Outside the temple I have come across some people selling books about this faith. I talked with them about the faith for a while and I got immeasurably abosrbed in this new faith. I do not know why I liked the idea. I read the books.

    Those were my formative years and I in point of fact had a fertile mind and any idea sown therin would sprout.

    Then there has been a gap and I have no books and suddenly thru this forum , and in particulalry seeing that you hold this faith I too got allured.

    In fact I am a seeker but not a believer. In my childhood I was a fervent devotee of Krishna, one of the Hindu Gods. When I heard songs in praise of him I used to be elated and would start singing them ecstatically. Even now I enjoy reading devotional songs immensely.

    Then I grew into adulthood and started becoming more skeptical about all these things. As I am an ardent reader of philosphical books I started seeking more logicalities in ideas, and my faith evaporated into nothingness.

    Now I do not know why suddenly through some flashbacks I feel like reveling in Bha'i faith. I do not know what it lays for me.

    Something within me deeply craves for a faith and that may be Baha'i or some thing else.

    Could you share me something about Baha'i and what really inspired you to hold on to this path?

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

  3. #3
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blazeofglory View Post
    I am really happy to come across you, for I am really looking for a man who ca make such striking contrastive comparisons between two different faiths, in fact I call marxism also a faith.
    Oh I think you're right. It is a faith. Because as an economic system it's a failure, as a historical concept it's redicualously laughable. So what else is driving people to believe in it, but faith.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
    Mr RonPrice Ron Price's Avatar
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    Goodness me! It's been six years since you posted the above, blazeofglory. To save me reinventing the wheel you can find out dozens of pages about this Faith which claims to be the newest of the Abrahamic religions by going to the official intenraitonal Baha'i site at: http://www.bahai.org/ As far as my own religious propensities are concerned, I write a great deal about this Faith at my website at: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/Babi.html
    --------------------------
    For more on Marx:

    Karl Marx hand-copied whole passages of Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus into his Notebooks. But the significance of the thought of Spinoza is much less clear than the fact of the copying of the passages.1 The massive quantities of copied material in my Notebooks, two-ring binders and arch-lever files now numbering some one-hundred and fifty, are much easier to trace for the significances of the thought of various authors if the reader sifts the entire oeuvre and any specific writer through the collirium of the Baha’i teachings. For this is Price’s sifting mechanism. That is a given.-1 Eugene Holland, “ Spinoza and Marx,” Cultural Logic, 2002; and Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, January 11th, 2004.

    I love reading the Notebooks of poets. Poets are curious critters and it is a pleasure to relax with the jottings and musings of other practitioners.-Anselm Hollo in The Poet’s Notebook: Excerpts from the Notebooks of 26 American Poets, W.W. Norton and Co., NY, editor, Stephen Kuusisto, et al., 1995.
    Last edited by Ron Price; 11-25-2013 at 07:52 AM. Reason: to correct the website URL
    Ron Price is a Canadian who has been living in Australia for 42 years(in 2013). He is married to a Tasmanian and has been for 37 years after 8 years in a first marriage. At the age of 69 he now spends most of his time as an author and writer, poet and publisher. editor and researcher, online blogger, essayist, journalist and engaging in independent scholarship. He has been associated with the Baha'i Faith for 60 years and a member for 53 years.cool:

  5. #5
    Mr RonPrice Ron Price's Avatar
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    BURSTING THE WALLS

    In June 1852 Karl Marx obtained an admission card to the reading room of the British Museum. There he would sit from 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. every day, pouring over Blue Books of factory inspectors and perusing the immense documentation about the inequities of the operation of the capitalist system that was to become an important part of Das Kapital published in 1867. Here also, filling notebook after notebook, he deepened his knowledge of the British political economists whom he had begun to study during the Paris days. -Ron Price with thanks to Lewis A.. Coser, Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context, 2nd ed., Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., Fort Worth, 1977, pp. 63-65.

    In that same June 1852 Baha’u’llah began His last two months before His imprisonment in the Siyah Chal on August 16th 1852. He stayed at the summer residence of the brother of the Grand Visier in Lavasan outside Tihran. During this summer He was kept informed of the rising and ultimately engulfing tide of anger and hatred against Him, especially from the Shah’s mother. We are informed by Balyuzi that “Baha’u’llah remained calm and composed.”1 Baha’u’llah’s enemies wanted to arrest Him and while they were looking for Him Baha’u’llah rode out toward them without fear or panic.-Ron Price with thanks to H. Balyuzi, Baha’u’llah The King of Glory, George Ronald, Oxford, 1980, p.77.

    So much had got going back in ’44,
    manuscripts produced in that spring
    and summer, a fertile partnership,1
    one in Paris and one in Shiraz,
    would transform the world.

    Much more got going in ’52
    when a Revelation flowed out
    from His travailing soul,
    piercing the gloom of that
    pestilential pit and bursting
    its walls to propagate itself
    to the far ends of the earth.

    And from that museum, too,
    something would infuse the
    entire body of humankind
    with its potentialities shaping
    the course of human society.

    1 Marx’s first writings The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts date from the summer of 1844; the Bab’s manuscript, the Qayyum’u’l-Asma, written in May of 1844 was read later in the summer by a scholar named Qujjat and 1000s of Qujjat’s fellow townspeople in Zanjan became Babis.

    Ron Price
    July 15th 2006
    Ron Price is a Canadian who has been living in Australia for 42 years(in 2013). He is married to a Tasmanian and has been for 37 years after 8 years in a first marriage. At the age of 69 he now spends most of his time as an author and writer, poet and publisher. editor and researcher, online blogger, essayist, journalist and engaging in independent scholarship. He has been associated with the Baha'i Faith for 60 years and a member for 53 years.cool:

  6. #6
    Mr RonPrice Ron Price's Avatar
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    PIONEERING: THE FIRST GENERATION
    HISTORY’S TENTH STAGE

    Freud, reinforcing the work of Marx, has encouraged the historian to examine himself and his own position in history, the motives-perhaps hidden motives-which have guided his choice of theme or period and his selection and interpretation of facts, the national and social background which has determined his angle of vision, the conception of the future which shapes his conception of the present.

    These are the words of E.H. Carr, What is History?, Macmillan, London, 1934, p. 134. Edward Hallett "Ted" Carr(1892-1982) was English historian, diplomat, journalist and international relations theorist, and an opponent of empiricism within historiography. I came across his history while a student in honours history and philosophy in 1964-5 in Canada.

    Carr was best known for his 14-volume history of the Soviet Union, in which he provided an account of Soviet history from 1917 to 1929, for his writings on international relations, and for his book What Is History?, in which he laid out historiographical principles rejecting traditional historical methods and practices.
    ----------------------------------------------
    Part 1:

    The above words of E.H. Carr could very well apply to the poet. They certainly apply to me. Poetry and history are branches of the same tree. My aim in my poetry is, among other aims, to bring history to life, to convey the true significance of things, on the printed page. My aim is also to explore both the outer world of action and its sensibility and the inner world, the private chamber. One of the most powerful determinants of this sensibility and this inner world that gives rise to poetry in particular and literature in general in the Baha’i community is the pioneering experience. This experience has been seminal in shaping the creative sensibility of many Baha’i writers, certainly this one.

    I have titled my overall literary corpus Pioneering Over Three Epochs and the poetry I have written is the largest part of that corpus. This pioneer life, begun in 1962, just after John Glen went spinning around the earth in the first manned space flight, is rooted in a struggle between the apparently slow growth in the new way of life I am pioneering, trying to bring into reality; and a range of transformations in the wider society. It is difficult to grasp both these time lines, mutually exclusive worlds, apparently. Now nearing the end of my thirty-sixth year of pioneering, I am watching an Arc of buildings rise on Mt. Carmel, the apotheosis of all my beliefs during this adventure in movement from place to place.

    Describing the struggle withinin and between these two worlds I write a great deal. I see this writing as a social act, part of social reality, part of historical reality. After all these years, nearly four decades, I see many of the aspects of this struggle as boring, tedious, problems I have had to return to again and again in building the sinews, the nucleus, the warp and weft, of this new World Order, as well as my own character. There is so much to focus on in this development that has been described and catelogued by the Universal House of Justice in its Ridvan messages since 1963. The progress has been immense. These messages provide a way of approaching the seemingly unmanageable diversity of political, social, economic and cultural events and the concomitant activity within the Baha’i community.

    Part 2:

    The recurring observations of these complex social and cultural stresses in both the wider world and within the Baha’i community are a hallmark of the House’s writing, an immensely positive and heuristic posture toward the events on the entire planet. New posibilities for development are explored in these messages within the matrix of international crises. The main thrust of my remarks here is to place my pioneering experience of the last three epochs within a broad, but brief, framework of institutional developments in the Baha’i Administrative Order, within the experience of the wider world and with my own private, personal experience. This short essay is but one of many that accompany my collections of poetry.

    “The process” wrote Shoghi Effendi, referring to the unsuspected benefits of this new order, is painfully slow in becoming visible to the eyes of men. It also manifests over time “a series of crises which at times threaten to arrest its unfoldment and blast all the hopes which its progress ha(s) engendered.”1 My own hopes had been blasted on numerous occasions in the areas of health, jobs, marriage and service to the Baha’i community. And so I write, not so much to tell the story of Baha’i history, of the Baha’i community, for that has been told many times. I write as a metaphor for my own release, for personal meaning, to perfect my understanding. I try to tell the truth, memory’s truth, which selects, illuminates, exaggerates, minimizes and glorifies. In the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but coherent(as coherent as possible) version of events. And who trusts someone else’s version more that their own? Even one's own understanding goes through metamorphoses over a lifetime, over a life-narrative. Mine certainly has in the 60 years from 1953 to 2013.

    Part 3:

    Of course, my own version of Baha’i history, Baha’i experience, is hardly definitive. Rather, what I write is my own version of reality, memory’s special kind of world. It is one of what could be millions of versions, of stories, of accounts, of explanations. It seems to me, though, that identity, Baha’i identity, does not exist until our story is told. Autobiography is a crucial part of that identity, that story which makes us real. Autobiography is part of our aesthetic need to unify and clarify through our acquaintance with a world, which as Wiliam James put it, is “multitudinous, beyond imagination, tangled, muddy, painful and perplexed.”2 James thought it was harder to conceive of a whole, undivided life than it was to conceive of the pluralistic world in which that life exists.

    The Canadian habit of mind, Margaret Atwood says, is “synthetic....(with) the ever-failing, ever-renewed attempt to pull all the pieces together, to discover the whole of which one can only trust one is a part.”3 I have pulled my life together in these poems; I have tied my life down after twenty-five years of peripatetic existence. This Canadian-Australian hybrid has written between the vastness of two continental land masses and a cosmology taking in all of time and space on the one hand and the microcosm of fragments found in everyday life on the other. He tries to find a middle ground.

    Most of what I have written is less than ten years old. This exercise of the middle ground, it would appear, is far from over. As middle adulthood, middle age, turns insensibly in the next few years to late adulthood, or the beginnings of old age-depending on what model one uses to classify the stages of human development-I shall continue to write poetry and engage myself in that sythesis referred to above after pioneering a new model of social organization across two continents in the first half century of its institutional expression in a form known as The Kingdom of God on Earth.
    FOOTNOTES

    1 Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p.111.
    2 Leslie Munroe, “History as Story Sequence:Katherine Mansfield and Alice Munro”, The Writer as Historical Witness: Studies in Commonwealth Literature, UniPress, London, 1995, p.190.
    3 ibid., p.195.

    Ron Price
    4 April 1998
    Last edited by Ron Price; 11-25-2013 at 08:05 AM. Reason: to correct the paragraphing
    Ron Price is a Canadian who has been living in Australia for 42 years(in 2013). He is married to a Tasmanian and has been for 37 years after 8 years in a first marriage. At the age of 69 he now spends most of his time as an author and writer, poet and publisher. editor and researcher, online blogger, essayist, journalist and engaging in independent scholarship. He has been associated with the Baha'i Faith for 60 years and a member for 53 years.cool:

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